Long before he assumed adulthood
unlike a normal child who
aspires to become
a pilot
a doctor
a fireman
a musician
a designer
a teacher
a runner
an astronaut
a whatever

This boy; however
in his wild imagination
had something else; in store
dreams of spades, shovels and skeletons
sketched on sand, soil and stones
which; in due course
evolved; combined themselves
as if by magic
to embody a vision
of an afterlife, right here
on earth

It was a quite simple geometry
he saw the present in the vertical
the future assumed the other, the horizontal
flat; as far as the eyes could see
on the horizon
with an arc, for a connector
two quadrants, mirror reflections of each other
with four words in-between

Dignity for the Dead

He smiled to himself
satisfaction dressed in flesh

I am pleased with that, he said
he had hit upon the idea; he knew
the Achilles’ heel of the human
the body part where the living and the dead
meet and take counsel
rest in peace; on earth

The vertical and the horizontal
a simple format no one can run away from
wanted; dead or alive!
dignity worth dying for
a portfolio worth investing on
a caretaker
the undertaker who became
the grave digger
all by himself!

He travelled
with eyes wide open
across the land
in search of more land
looking for disease, famine and war
for social conflict
always waiting; just on the side
for maturity, of some kind
for harvest
of the sick, the half-dead and the underfed
with coffins, cotton cloth and firewood
for burying, wrapping or burning
all priced, for maximum profit
with shovels and spades
ready for despatch, up in store
come rain or shine
even the priests, imams or shamans\
ready on call, on their mobile phones

Dignity for the Dead!
a catch-phrase that spread
like forest fire
among the living
desperate; looking for someone
to look after their dead

Who else to go to; but
the grave digger who bought the farmland
the inner city estate
the insurance company
the financiers, the investment group
that dug into, the dying breed
cashing in, on the fundamental
to a life that evolves to a water level
to an unbearable burden
to the very foundation
to the bedrock of fear
of death!

The grave digger, matured
full of himself, in his own company
counts the dead, at sunset
sleeps in peace all night, dreaming
of the second coming
of angels in heaven
as if they were the deliverymen
flying around with parcels of souls
some with no names; or
no forwarding address
just ashes and broken bones; unknowns
victims of what they call
black death; slow death, famine or war
in mass graves; all paid for

Forget those babies
Children, little precious souls
they go for free; enter rather
at a discount; into another world
long before they could make any sense
or; capture the essence
of this existence

Never mind!
keep on digging!
says the grave digger
business is booming; downstairs!
Oh Yes!
the more dead, the better the future!
so he said

Nobody knew; except the digger
the future is already past
in the very present; said he
vision can be sold at a premium
on prime time!

By the time it was
a done deal
dead and buried
there came a few souls, from the other side
restless in their afterlife, shouting

Get the Digger! Get the Digger!

Trying hard to make contact; with the living
who had no means of reception; or
any extra-sensory perception

Cut off from the memory, of their own future
could only hear
dig! dig! dig!
and kept on dancing and chanting
high on their heels
dig! dig! dig!
on a dance floor; ready-made
for the living-dead

the grave digger himself
sat on his chair, still smiling
in his own permanent residence
right under the dance hall
a property he cherished
mesmerised by the digging; right above
his head
still counting, the long dead

Gabriel Guangul
1 November 2015